07 Apr The Dental Benefits of Xylitol
If you have questions about xylitol and how it can help prevent cavities, ask one of the experts at Mettler & Griego Family Dentistry in Glendale. Our dentists recommend xylitol for its many cavity-fighting benefits. Xylitol can help balance the pH of saliva, assist in repairing damaged enamel, reduce acid attacks from oral bacteria, and even prevent plaque formation. Read on to learn more about the benefits of xylitol.
Fight Cavities with Xylitol
Xylitol is a plant-based sweetener that is also anticariogenic, which means that it fights cavities. Also known as birch sugar, it is usually extracted from birch wood or from corn. Although xylitol tastes sweet, it has none of the harmful effects of sugar. Dentists recommend products with xylitol because it cannot be metabolized by oral bacteria. When used in place of sugar, xylitol can actually prevent the formation of lesions in tooth enamel and inhibit the growth of existing cavities.
Reduce Acid Attacks
Sugar is one of the main culprits in causing tooth decay. Plaque-forming oral bacteria love to eat sugar—it is their favorite food, and helps them multiply rapidly. As the bacteria digest sugar, they release acid into your saliva. This acid attack is extremely damaging for teeth, and causes lesions in tooth enamel that can eventually grow into cavities. Products sweetened with xylitol prevent the acid attack that sugar normally incites.
Prevent Plaque Formation
Replacing sugar with xylitol has many benefits for oral health. Xylitol impedes the growth and metabolism of oral streptococcus, the bacteria responsible for causing dental plaque and acidic saliva. These bacteria are unable to digest xylitol, and without sugars to eat, their population is effectively reduced. Xylitol also prevents bacteria from sticking to teeth and forming plaque.
Repair Tooth Enamel
Saliva pH balance is important for the remineralization of lesions that might otherwise become cavities. Xylitol is pH neutral, and helps repair damaged enamel by making saliva more alkaline. This is the opposite of the harmful, acidic environment that plaque produces. When saliva pH is alkaline, calcium and phosphate salts will be able to reach your tooth enamel to strengthen it.
If it’s time for your next gentle dental cleaning, call Mettler & Griego Family Dentistry at (623) 562-5230 today to schedule an appointment. When you come in for your cleaning, we will offer personalized home care recommendations to help you optimize your oral hygiene habits at home. Ask us about what xylitol products we recommend for maintaining a healthy smile.